Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids or on Your Own — Mexico City Travel Blog

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Fun things to do in Mexico City with kids. Great things to do in Mexico City with teens. Fantastic things to do in Mexico City on your own. This Mexico City Travel blog post has it all. Mexico City attractions have something for everyone. Whether you’re in Mexico City for 48 hours or a month, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied. Let us fill you in.

_Museo Jumex Soumaya Museum Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

Fun Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids (or Without)

We’ve been in and out of Mexico City now more than a dozen times, I’m never ready to leave. The Mexico City travel blog post will attempt to summarize just some of the fun you can have here.

We’ve based ourselves in San Miguel de Allende (aka SMA) for a while. SMA is in central Mexico and doesn’t have an airport. That means that we often fly into Mexico City with kids and then take the bus north (more on how to do that here). After our first weekend in Mexico City with kids, I realized that we would have to schedule more time in town before an after flights. Now I just want to go down for a week or two. We love Mexico City that much.

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Contents

Mexico City Travel Blog

There is so much to write about things to do in Mexico City that I feel like I’m just getting started. Check back often to this Mexico City travel blog post. Why? Because I have a feeling that I’ll keep adding to it the more we visit Mexico City.

Mexico City is full of world-class museums, lush parks, and jaw-dropping architecture. There are also lovely cafes, incredible markets and hip, tree-lined neighborhoods. You could spend one entire day simply walking through the some of the city’s beautiful neighborhoods (see more below). If you’re on your own, I’d consider it. Even if you’re with little kids, there are parks and fountains along the way. Oh, and did I mention the chocolate shops and ice cream parlors?

Related Posts

Getting Around Mexico City

_CDMX taxi Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

Much of Mexico City is walkable, but it’s a huge city and you’ll need some help getting around. The train/subway system is cheap and very convenient. We’ve used it a lot, but not at night.

Taxis are also a great way to get around. That said, we don’t recommend hailing one from the sidewalk. There are some shady characters who pose as proper taxis that aren’t. Instead, have your hotel or restaurant call you one to make sure it’s official.

Our favorite way of getting around Mexico City is by Uber. The cars are everywhere. They are tracked by the company, and the drivers have been consistently prompt and professional for us.

Is Mexico City Safe?

_soumaya museum 2. Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

When I sing the praises of exploring Mexico City with kids, I often hear “Is Mexico City safe?” Many times. Mexico gets a bad rap in the press. Yes, the country has its problems. But don’t confuse the pockets of land that drug cartels control with the capital of the country…or the country as a whole. Mexico City is a clean, beautiful city with a strong police force. And it is a massive city.

All the places I recommend are in the old downtown or in charming refurbished neighborhoods near the heart of the city. Aside from the odd trip to the convenience store, I have not gone out much late at night. It’s quite probable that the safety rules can change then, as they do in many big cities. That said, I have been many times alone or with my daughter looking for dinner at around 9 pm or later and felt completely safe.

For perspective, at the time of writing, Mexico City has a much lower murder rate than four US Cities: St Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans and Detroit. Would you tell people to never go to St Louis of New Orleans?

With this in mind, here are a few safety recommendations for Mexico City:

  • Stick to downtown and the neighborhoods mentioned in this post. In general, the further from downtown you go, the more questionable the neighborhoods can become.
  • Be mindful of flaunting flashy gear and accessories. In any major city, that can make you a mark. A nice watch, an expensive camera — be wary of how visible these are.
  • Use ATMs during daylight hours, and keep a little money in more than one location.
  • Don’t just jump in any cab. Have your hotel or restaurant call you one. There are cases of “express kidnapping.” This is where a shady non-cab takes you directly to an ATM, where you are then “asked” to give them what they ask for.

CDMX, DF, and Mexico

_mexico! Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

Mexico City goes by several names. One is CDMX, or Ciudad de Mexico, a literal translation of Mexico City into Spanish. Another name for Mexico City is DF, which stands for Districto Federal. In fact, many Mexicans literally call Mexico City “Mexico.” That’s right: just “Mexico.” As in “I’m going to Mexico for the weekend. Wanna come?” So to review, the capital of Mexico has several names:

  • Mexico City
  • CDMX (Ciudad de Mexico)
  • DF (Districto Federal)
  • or simply “Mexico”

Mexico City Attractions: Things to Do in Mexico City_papalotes kids museum Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

There are so many things to do in Mexico City that it’s almost impossible to put them all into one Mexico City travel blog post. I’ll have to just add more here as we visit more. Below I’ve divided up the Mexico City attractions into a few categories: museums, parks, history and more.

Best Museums in Mexico City – Mexico City Attractions

With around 150 museums to choose from, Mexico City can keep you busy and indoors for months. From history to contemporary art, museums are one of the best things to do in Mexico City with kids or without. Here are a few we recommend.

Casa Azul

_casa azul 1 Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

This is the former home of Frida Kahlo and her husband, the revered muralist Diego Rivera. It’s a beautiful home, and it contains some of her work. That said, your visit will mean much more if you learn more about her life before you visit. (I recommend listening to this SYSK podcast episode). Another option is to get an audioguide when you arrive.

This is like a museum, but don’t expect to see room after room of her most famous works. Those are spread across National Museums and private collections all over the world. That said, the house feels like a museum with all the personal items and other work it holds. And just a few years ago, they unlocked some rooms in the house. There they discovered more of her work, her clothing, and other personal items, which are now on display.

TIP: I highly recommend buying tickets online beforehand. There is always a line, and when you buy tickets ahead of time, you have a designated time of entry. But definitely go, it’s one of the best things to do in Mexico City for all ages.

Anahuacalli Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art

Created and designed by Diego Rivera, the Anahuacalli Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art is built of volcanic rock. Inside the rooms are filled with over 50,000 artworks and artifacts collected by Rivera himself. Rivera felt that too much Mesoamerican work was leaving the country for the collections of faraway museums, so he created this place to keep it at home. The Museum is about 15 minutes (by car) south of Casa Azul.

Museo Interactivo de Economia (MIDE)

_MIDE Museum of Economics Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

Okay okay, so you’re thinking to yourself: “A museum of economics for kids…yay?” I get it. Economics sounds like such a drab and lifeless topic for kids to “interact” with. Yet this museum does an amazing job of making money, populations and policies come alive. It really is one of the most interesting museums in Mexico City for kids. It also touches on environmental aspects. For example, one exhibit explains each component of a cell phone. What it costs, where the raw materials come from, and what effects that have on the country it’s produced in.

The exhibits are mostly in Spanish, but most of the concepts are easy to grasp without the language. We’ve included it in our best things to do in Mexico City with kids because it’s close to the historic center and quite fascinating for some kids.

El Papalote, Museo del Niño

_Papalotes Kids Museum Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

This is Mexico City’s very impressive children’s museum. Covering a huge, multi-floored space, El Papalote is full of “edutainment” type exhibits. They teach science and social studies concepts while really being one big playground.

There are places to test hand-made rockets. There are also drawing and art stations, interactive exhibits and loads of places to run and climb. And there is also a high-tech cinema playing 4D/IMAX-type films for extra.

This is a fun and a bewildering place to wander with young ones. And when I say “young,” I guess I mean under 10 years old. I went with my 12-year-old, and we realized quickly that she’s just too old for it now. Two years ago, I would have had to drag her out of a place like that.

Museo de Arte Popular

While the museum’s name may make you think of Warhol, Lichtenstein, and Haring, the Museum of Popular Art is not a pop art museum. Rather, this is one of the most amazing repositories of Mexican folk art ever collected. Bright, colorful and playful, this is easily one of the best museums in Mexico City for kids. And one of the best things to do in Mexico City for anyone.

Soumaya Museum

_Soumaya Museum top floor Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

This jaw-dropping structure is one of the most memorable and beautiful buildings in Mexico City. Whether the art inside is your cup of tea is up to you. This is the private collection of billionaire Mexican mogul Carlos Slim, and there are floors of old coins and oil paintings that we breezed through, but this is one of the best places to visit in Mexico City because of the building itself and to see some of the work.

The collection is free to visit and worth a walk in. I enjoyed seeing his collection of hand-carved mammoth ivory and loads of work from the sculptor Auguste Rodin (“The Thinker” and many others). However, my kids mostly enjoyed the spiraling walkway to the top and back. It’s worth it if only for that. Some people recommend taking the elevator to the top and then walking down. This may be true, but since the top floor was our favorite (and we like the extra exercise) we’re glad we slowly meandered to the top.

Museo Jumex

Just next door to the Soumaya Museum is a much more contemporary collection. The Museo Jumex has large, spacious white rooms for large-scale installations and video work. We spent considerably more time here exploring the traveling exhibitions. Like with any contemporary art museum, how much you enjoy depends on your tastes. And whatever show is in town that week, of course.

Acuario Inbursa

Also owned by Carlos Slim, Acuario Inbursa is a colorful (and somewhat claustrophobic) indoor aquarium. Over 300 species of sea life reside here. It’s a short walk from the Museo Jumex and Soumaya Museum in the Polanco neighborhood. Perhaps it’s worth a visit if your kids like this sort of thing. That said, it’s not the best thing to do in Mexico City if you’re in town for a short while.

National Museum of Anthropology

_aztec calendar. Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

The National Museum of Anthropology is one of the most fascinating places to see in Mexico City. It is famous around the world for its vast and unmatched collection of Meso-American art and artifacts. This is much more than some pottery sherds. There are jade funerary masks. There are ornately carved stone calendars. And there is an Aztec headdress that is dazzling.

Most people suggest visiting this museum more than once. Like the Louvre, it’s hard to take in all in one go.

Futura CDMX – Centro Interactivo

This is one of the best things to Mexico city for kids, but adults and solo travelers can enjoy this museum as well. Like many of the best museums in Mexico City, Futura CDMX is full of interactive exhibits that both educate while they entertain.

Possibly the best part of Futura CDMX is a meticulously crafted scale model of the entire city.

Mucho Mundo Chocolate

_choco museum Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

I’m sure most of you reading this love chocolate. We do too and would recommend visiting this location. But is this is one of the best things to do in Mexico City for you? It depends. I found the museum very interesting. That said, it involved a lot of reading. The exhibits are in a lovely old home, but they are mostly text-based rather than hands-on.

My daughter and I enjoyed fiddling with the cocoa powder in one room and enjoyed taking pictures of walls made of chocolate. But in the end, she just wanted to get to the chocolateria downstairs. The chocolate shop is good, altho somewhat pricey compared to local sweet shops. We stayed and got a few things anyway and enjoyed our visit. Older kids may enjoy the exhibits like I did, Younger…I’m not so sure.

History & Architecture: Mexico City Travel Blog

_palacio de bellas artes. Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

The story of Mexico City is long and fascinating. Once the center of the Aztec world, then conquered by the Spanish, who build massive and imposing buildings right on top of ancient pyramids. Exploring these structures and the stories behind them are easily one of the best things to do in Mexico City.

Many of the most famous Mexico City attractions are in this area. I cover only a few of them in this Mexico City travel blog but plan to add more as we discover them ourselves.

Palacio de Bellas Artes

This is one of the most beautiful buildings in Mexico City. The Palacio de Bellas Artes is also one of its most popular and recognized landmarks. And one of the most crowded. The building is worth a visit alone, but don’t leave without seeing its famous murals by Diego Rivera and others.

El Centro de Historico

The blocks surrounding the Zocalo (central square) at the heart of Mexico City are a must for all travelers. It’s often crowded and touristy, but for good reason. The imposing buildings around it are a sight to behold — the cathedral being the most amazing. If you’re lucky, there will be a festival of some kind being held in the massive square. It’s pretty common.

This is also where you can watch people performing ancient Aztec rituals for people. They’ll be hard to miss, dressed in loincloths, bones and elaborate feather headdresses. They may be blowing the smoke of burning sage over someone to “cleanse” them.

The streets and buildings that surround the historic center are worth several hours of one day. Just walk and explore. Step inside the churches and sweet shops for a taste of what life here is like. Easily one of the best things to do in Mexico City with kids or without.

The Templo Mayor

_templo mayor. Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

Just north of the Zocalo is the Templo Mayor. This is the center of what was once the Aztec capital that lies beneath modern-day Mexico City. You can see the ancient ruins here, surrounded by urban grandeur. The museum here also shows how the ancient Aztec city laid the foundations for what is today’s modern-day capital. This is one of the best things to do in Mexico City for everyone, and it’s easy to access if you explore the historic district.

Parks, Playgrounds & Other Amusement: Mexico City Travel Blog

_mexico city parks. Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

Mexico City is a massive metropolis, with one of the highest population densities in the world. Yet despite the numbers, much of Mexico City is full of wide boulevards, tree-lined lanes, and beautiful parks. There are plenty of places to walk run, play or simply go for a scenic stroll — both indoor and out. Here are a few of them.

Chapultepec Park

The biggest of all the parks in Mexico City is Chapultepec Park. It is the largest city park in the western hemisphere, and arguably one of the best in the world, as well. You could spend days here. Chapultepec Park has playgrounds, a zoo, a castle, walking and biking lanes, a lake and some of the city’s best museums.

This tiny paragraph doesn’t begin to describe all that the park offers. Just look on Google Maps at its size and everything contained within it. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Mexico City with kids or without.

Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

_boats of Xochimilco. Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

Far south of the city center is the borough of Xochimilco. Many people say that one of the best things to do in Mexico City is to take take a boat ride through the ancient waterways here. We haven’t done this yet, but it’s on the list!

Six Flags Mexico

Here’s one to add to the “no duh” department of this post. If you’re exploring Mexico City with kids, then perhaps head to an amusement park! Like other branches of Six Flags, here you’ll find loads of world-class roller coasters and other rides. They also have shows and other performances. Piggybacking off of the success of superhero movies nowadays, I think that Six Flags has partnered with DC Comics. Why? Because the commercials we see on Mexican TV all the time have Wonder Woman front and center.

We haven’t been to Six Flags Mexico. Not yet. But I grew up about half an hour from Six Flags over Georgia (the state, not the country). I can tell you that there is something for every age there.

Kidzania

This indoor amusement park is modeled on the working world. Kids get to dress up and play the part of firemen, dentists, taxi drivers, construction workers and more. As you can probably tell, this is a place for kids of an age that still like to “play pretend.”

It is expensive and has lots of corporate ties to the companies that the kids “work” for. With that in mind, expect lots of company logos seared into your kids’ consciousness (like they aren’t already). When my kids were younger and we still live in Japan, I brought them to the Kidzania in Tokyo and they loved it. Many people think that it’s one of the best things to do in Mexico City with kids.

Granja las Americas

Another great amusement park in Mexico City. Granja las Americas is more for younger kids. Its farm theme gets into educational aspects (agriculture and science). Your kids will have lots of opportunities to interact with live animals like cows and chickens. There’s a thrill element as well, with rides where kids can rock climb and drive cars as well. This is a great thing to do in Mexico City with younger kids, but not really for anyone else.

Jump-In

This is a chain of trampoline parks across Mexico City. If it’s a rainy day or you just need the kids to burn through some energy, Jump-in will do the trick.

Markets, Shopping, and Walking Areas: Mexico City Attractions

_mexico markets chiles. Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

Many of the best things to do in Mexico City don’t cost a thing. I’m talking window shopping, walking through traditional markets and going for a stroll. Mexico City is a great place for walking and people-watching. If you’re traveling with kids, then you’re likely to find a park, a playground or an ice cream shop along the way.

Here are a few of the best places in Mexico City to go for a walk. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs or a bite to eat, the best markets in Mexico City have you covered. Here are few we’ve included in this Mexico City travel blog post.

Mercado Roma

This more upscale market is more for fine(r) dining and artisanal products but is a lovely place to spend a few hours.

Mercado de Artesanías La Ciudadela (aka La Ciudadela)

Head here for handicrafts. La Ciudadela is a great place for textiles, clothing and hand-made wooden toys. You’ll find everything from the cheesiest souvenirs to fine rugs. Respectful bargaining is welcomed, but walk through the entire place and ask prices before committing.

Mercado Coyoacan

_market coyoacan 1 Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

Located a few blocks from Casa Azul, Mercado Coyoacan is a vibrant market full of food stalls, clothing, and much more. In our opinion, it’s also one of the best places to eat in Mexico City after visiting Frida Kahlo’s home.

Mercado Sonora

This is possibly the most bizarre market in Mexico City, with stalls dedicated to witch supplies. No, I’m not talking cauldrons and eyes of newt. More like herbs for various health maladies and powders to bring love or drive away evil.

Mercado de la Merced

About a 20-minute walk from the Zocalo, this massive marketplace has a bit of everything. Here you’ll find meat, produce, crafts, and much much more. It’s one of the best markets in Mexico City but remember just how crowded it can get.

Bazar Fusion

Very cool design market comprised of dozens of small independent shops selling everything from handmade candles to silver jewelry to one-of-a-kind kids’ clothes. There are lots of these designer markets around Mexico City, but Bazar Fusion is one of the most well respected and established. In fact, they don’t move from venue to venue now. They’re all inside one old house in the very cool Juarez neighborhood.

Where to Eat in Mexico City

_casa de la tono Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

In this Mexico City travel blog post, I’ve talked about museums.  I’ve talked about parks,  playground, and markets. But easily one of my favorite things to do in Mexico City is to eat. And eat and eat.

I have a lot to say about Mexican food and places to eat in Mexico City, and a longer stand-alone post might be coming. But for the time being, I will just list up a few of our faves below.

The Eat Mexico Culinary Tours

Mexican street food sidewalk. Eat Mexico Culinary Tours: Mexico City Walking Tours for Foodies

One of the best recommendations I can give for finding places to eat in Mexico City is to take a food tour on one of your first days in town. There are many great food tours in Mexico City, and we think taking a street food tour early on is a great idea. For example, we took a street food tour with Eat Mexico Culinary Tours early on, and then that laid the groundwork for finding loads of great grub throughout future visits.

The Mexico City street food scene is huge and remarkably diverse, and learning about it earlier than later sets you up for loads of great flavor experiences. For example, after our tour, we have returned to some of the same stands multiple times. In addition, we now know what certain things are being sold and can now order them from different stands with more confidence.

Eating at the Markets

_mercado coyoacan tostadas Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids — Mexico City Travel Blog

Most of the best markets in Mexico City have loads of food stalls or even sit-down restaurants and stands that are worth trying out. Lots of people recommend exploring the food at Mercado de la Merced, which we plan to do very soon. Our present favorite is the tostada stands in Mercado Coyoacan. This market is less than a 10-minute walk from Casa Azul (aka Frida Kahlo’s house). If you go, time your visit to eat lunch before of afterward.

Corredor Salamanca

This hipster food court hotspot in the Roma neighborhood is a great place for lunch, dinner or drinks. There are ping pong tables on the second floor and a variety of restaurants, cafes and juice bars to meet anyone’s cravings. Personally, I chose the Argentinian place.

La Bodeguita del Medio

The branch of this chain of Cuban restaurants is built into a massive colonial home. Pictures of celebrities don the walls, and the walls themselves are covered floor-to-ceiling with autographs and other hijinks with a sharpie. The ceviche was good. The mojitos were even better. This place often has live music, so factor that into your decision.

Casa de Toño

This is nothing fancy about this chain of traditional Mexican specialties. The lights are neon, and the bright wooden tables look like something out of a fast food chain. But you don’t come here for the ambiance. You come here for good Mexican standards served fast and with a smile.

Their specialty is pozole (a rich Mexican soup/stew served with lime and tostadas), but there wasn’t anything on the menu we didn’t like: sopes, enfrijoladas, and more. Nothing’s fancy, but it’s cheap, fast and delicious. On a recent visit, my daughter and I ate dinner here three nights in a row. The food is cheap, the desserts and drinks (micheladas, that is) are generous, and the place is packed every time we went. Also an easy place for dates, families or groups.

Dulceria de Celaya

Whether you’re a sweet tooth or not, this traditional Mexican candy shop is one of the best places in Mexico to get a taste of times gone by. There are two branches in the city. The main branch near the historic district is in a beautiful old building. The second location in Roma Norte is less atmospheric but still carries all the goods.

Ice Cream in Mexico City

I feel like I should write an entire post on all the great ice cream shops in Mexico City! Once I visit a few more, I just might have to write that up. Mexicans love their helado (ice cream), and one of the best things to eat in Mexico City is a scoop or two on the sidewalk. You’ll see small stalls set up on street corners, with maybe a dozen or more steel cylinders on ice, and a paper sign denoting the flavors.

Try these, but if you’re looking for a more conventional ice cream parlor, here are a few worth seeking out.

Neveria Roxy

This old-school ice cream parlor in the lovely Condesa Neighborhood still has the 50’s-style swivel chairs at the bar. It also has loads of flavors to choose from.

Helados Cometa

The selection is not as wide at Helados Cometa, but the quality is fantastic. We had a chocolate mint here that was one of the best I’d ever had. Deep, almost fudge-like brown, with only a hint of mint. Amazing.

Helados Obscuro

This last one isn’t a conventional ice cream place at all. It’s more like a bar, and most of the many ice cream flavors available are alcoholic. Sure, they’ll have 3-5 flavors for kids, but then others are a little more creative, like the Wolfman (Espresso Ice Cream & Jack Daniel’s), the Vampire (Cranberry, Red Wine & Vodka) or the Frankenstein (Chocolate Mint with Absinth).

Mexico City Attractions: What’s Missing?

Have you been to Mexico City? Were you in Mexico City with kids or on your own? Do you know of other fun things to do in Mexico City that should be added to this Mexico City travel blog post? If so, let us know in the comments!

Further Reading

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Disclaimer: This Mexico City travel blog post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you buy something or book a hotel using one of the links on this Mexico City travel blog, we might get a small commission. You pay nothing extra, so don’t worry. Also, everything you see here is just my personal opinion. I only recommend places, activities, and gear that I believe will genuinely help you find the best things to do in Mexico City. This Mexico City travel blog is all about getting the most out of the city. If you think there’s anything else we should add to this Mexico City travel blog post please let us know. Any things to do in Mexico City with kids or things to do in Mexico City with teens are warmly welcomed!

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Comments

  1. Mubeen Naqvi says:

    This is a very Unique Article. I have only one word: Awesome.

    Thank you so much.

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